Remembering Butch Guerrero

Dear Sir Butch:

I first met you in our CW141 class. You entered the classroom late, gaped at our curious eyes and asked us to introduce ourselves. I was seated in the middle, wearing a maroon UP Diliman shirt; you looked at me and said, “Let’s start with Diliman.” I thought you were mataray because most students from the DECL told me so. But the strange thing was, never in my life did I see you being grouchy.

I was from CMC then, and I didn’t know why I enrolled in your Non-fiction class, but I am thankful to the gods of enlistment that I got in.

You always humored us in class discussions and workshops. You always smiled before us. It was a warm welcome. To my surprise, you didn’t hurl unsparing comments towards my papers despite my faulty grammar. You were so patient in pointing out my mistakes. I won’t forget that it’s you who told me that no punctuation must be left outside quotation marks.

I remember how you cracked when I gave the “Famous much?” remark on a classmate’s essay. You probably have forgotten that already, but I haven’t. It was fascinating to see you and the whole class laugh at such comment. Also, I recall when my essay was being read and most of the class didn’t like the title, and you declared that it’s interesting, that if you were in a bookstore and see a book with such title, you’ll probably pick it first from the shelf. But my funniest memory of you is this one time when we were reading an essay, you were seated in front with your laptop computer and I noticed that you looked uneasy and nervous. In the middle of the workshop, I excused myself to go to the comfort room but before I left, I took a quick glance at your monitor and there I caught you collecting suns and lining plants against the zombies. It was so hilarious!

Then the semester ended. I thought that that’s the end of it, but I’m happy that we always talked since then, in Facebook and in person. I’m happy that whenever we see each other–in UP, in Sarah’s, in rallies–you always embraced me. You were always good to me, that’s why when I said in one of my blog posts that you’re one of my favorite professors, I meant it. I also like your poetics that I chose your famous essay as my report for a CL class. Famous talaga–famous much!

You promised to give me your copy of Salman Rushdie’s “Shalimar the Clown” but it seems like I have to stop hoping for it. I guess I have to let it go now. Rest in peace, Sir Butch. Thank you for everything. You will be missed.

Love always,

I took this photo of him in Luneta at the Million People March against pork barrel, hence the colorful pigs.

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